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Avon Novelist Debuting Book, Wally Lamb Giving Talks

Special To The Courant

Connecticut novelist Wally Lamb will give several talks this month about his new novel, "I'll Take You There" (Harper, $25.99).

The story follows Felix Funicello, who was a 10-year-old in Lamb's 2009 Christmas novella "Wishin' and Hopin'" and in the new book is a professor who runs a movie club in New London's Garde Arts Center, which is said to be haunted by theatrical ghosts, including a silent film era director. The novel has various formats: hardcover, audio and e-books and an interactive app designed by Metabook.

Lamb will speak and sign copies of "I'll Take You There" at the Madison Beach Hotel, 94 West Wharf Road, Madison, on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10, of which $5 can be applied to the purchase of the book. Reservations and information: 203-245-3959 or

He also will speak at the Yale Bookstore, 77 Broadway, New Haven, on Thursday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.m.

The Garde Arts Center, 325 State St., New London, will host a book launch on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 3 p.m., with an appearance by Lamb, a short film about him, a discussion of the app and live music. Tickets are $26. and

'Lift And Separate'

Marilyn Simon Rothstein of Avon will launch her debut novel, "Lift and Separate" (Lake Union Publishing, $14.95) at a free event hosted by the Women's Network of Beth El Temple, 2626 Albany Ave., West Hartford, on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m.

Her book is a comic novel about Marcy, a long-married wife whose life suddenly sags when her husband, Harvey, who has made a fortune marketing brassieres, leaves her for a 32DD lingerie model. Deflated but not defeated, Marcy sets out to lift herself up and in so doing, learns secrets about her adult children and a new best friend.

Rothstein, who earned degrees from Wesleyan University and UConn, owned a Connecticut advertising agency for many years. Reservations are required: 860-233-9696.

The Wright Stuff

The Avon Public Library, 281 Country Club Road, Avon, will conclude its free Avon Reads One Book community reading project on "The Wright Brothers" by David McCullough (Simon & Schuster, $17.99), with a talk on Saturday, Dec. 17, at 1 p.m.

Peter Jakab, chief curator of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington, will talk about "The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Aerial Age," focusing on the invention of the airplane and aviation from 1899 to 1905. He is an expert on the histories of technology and of invention, the Wright brothers and pioneer and World War I era aviation.

Attendees are urged to read McCullough's book. To obtain a copy from the library, call 860-673-9712.

Authors & Artisans Pop-Ups

Book Club Bookstore & More, 100 Main St. in the Broad Brook section of East Windsor, will present Authors & Artisans Pop-Up Shops this month.

Author Sherry Horton, widow of artist and Hartford Art School faculty member Chris Horton, will sign copies of her memoir, "Witness Chair: A Memoir of Art, Marriage, and Loss" (Shanti Arts, $21.95), on Sunday, Dec. 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is about their 40 years together and his last project before he died.

Authors Lauryn Wendus, who writes the Oliver Poons cat series for children, and L. F. Blanchard and Tammy Rebello, authors of "Abandoned Asylums of Connecticut" (Arcadia, $22.99), a look at former mental health facilities in the state, will sign copies on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 860-623-5100 or

WordForge Reading Series

Poets Ginny Lowe Connors and Sheryl Bedingfield will give a free WordForge Reading Series program, beginning with an open mike, on Monday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m., at The Studio @ Billings Forge, 563 Broad St., Hartford.

Connors, a former West Hartford poet laureate who won a Sunken Garden Poetry Prize for her chapbook, "Under the Porch" and Bedingfield, a psychotherapist and counselor, have published poetry collections about communities, such as Salem, Mass., and a village in Scotland, that were damaged by allegations of witchcraft. Connors' collection is "Toward the Hanging Tree: Poems of Salem Village" (Antrim House, $18). Bedingfield's "The Clattering: Voices from Old Forfarshire, Scotland" (Grayson Books, $15) tells the true story of a woman accused of witchcraft in the 17th century. 860-508-2810 or

Neal Shusterman Events

Neal Shusterman, the bestselling screenwriter and author of more than 30 award-winning books for children, teens and adults, including the "Unwind" dystology, the "Skinjacker "trilogy and "Challenger Deep," which won a National Book Award, will give two free talks about his latest book, "Scythe" (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $18.99). It is the first of a new series about a disease-free world in which teens are forced to become professional "scythes," who must randomly "glean" people.

Shusterman will speak on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at 6:30 p.m. at R.J. Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road, Madison. Reservations are required: 203-245-3959 or

He will visit Barnes & Noble, at Blue Back Square, 60 Isham Road, West Hartford, on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m. 860-236-9900.

'Searching For John Hughes'

Jason Diamond will give a free talk about his book, "Searching for John Hughes: Or Everything I Thought I Needed to Know about Life I Learned from Watching '80s Movies" ( William Morrow, $15.99), On Thursday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m.

Hughes directed such hit films such as "National Lampoon's Vacation," "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club" and "Home Alone," and Diamond grew up obsessed with the filmmaker and his work. He decided to write a biography of Hughes and move from Chicago to New York. The biography never materialized, but this unconventional memoir did. Diamond is the founder of Vol. 1 Brooklyn and an associate editor at His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Paris Review, Vice, Bookforum, McSweeney's and other publications. Reservations: 203-245-3959 or

Wintonbury Branch Poetry Series

Poets Joan Kantor and Srinivas Mandavilli will present a program called The Imaginative Eye on Thursday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m., as the free Wintonbury Branch Poetry Series continues at McMahon Wintonbury Library, 1015 Blue Hills Ave., Bloomfield. ("Wintonbury Branch") or 860-242-0041.

Dan Foley In Manchester

Modern horror author Dan Foley will give a free talk on Monday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m., at Manchester Public Library, 586 Main St., Manchester. Foley will talk about his newest book, "Wolf's Tale," (CreateSpace, $16). 860-645-0821 or

Mystery Book Discussion

Carole Shmurak, of Farmington, who writes the Susan Lombardi mystery novels, will lead a free discussion on Monday, Dec. 12, at noon for the Simsbury Mystery Group's series, Murder in the Windy City, Part 4, at Simsbury Public Library, 725 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury. The book is "Ask Not" by Max Allan Collins. 860-658-7663.

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